Major problem solved by Obama: He moves to end outrageous discrimination by movie theaters against blind and deaf

It is about time.  I don't know how previous presidents let this go on without ending outrageous discrimination against the blind by movie theaters.  Surprise, some movies theaters will probably be put out of business.  From The Hill newspaper:
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema. 
The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning and provide audio narration of what’s happening onscreen. 
Disability associations say that the new regulation will make sure that blind and deaf people can appreciate the latest blockbuster just like everyone else. 
But theater owners worry that a federal mandate will force small, rural and struggling theaters to close given the costs associated with the rule. . . .
The upcoming proposal from the Justice Department is expected to require that a certain percentage of the more than 40,000 movie screens across the country offer headsets that provide a running commentary of visual action for the blind, glasses that display closed captioning for the deaf or other devices to explain what’s happening onscreen. . . . 
By definition this fails the cost-benefit test.  The question is what the blind would have been willing to pay and whether that would have been larger than the cost of providing these services.  If they were willing to pay enough, we would see these services.  Since none exist, they must not be willing to pay enough. 

Here is another way of thinking about it.  Suppose you gave all blind people an amount of money equal to cost of providing this service.  What are the odds they would spend it on going to movie theaters?  My guess is that only a small number of recipients would spend it on movies.


Seriously? The "Largest Gun Study Ever: More Guns, More Murder"

I have gotten a number of emails about a study in the American Journal of Public Health entitled: "The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010." 

I don't have time to do more than glance at this paper, but here are some very superficial initial thoughts.

1) Using state level data the study claims a positive relationship between the percentage of suicides committed with guns (they call this the gun ownership rate rather than what it actually is) and the firearm homicide rate.  The big problem with their measure of gun ownership is that it picks up a lot of demographic information that may itself be related to homicide and to crime.  

2) Do we care about total murders or murders involving guns?

3) "None of the existing panel studies examined data more recent than 1999."  Presumably this is what is causing some left wing outlets to claim "Largest Gun Study Ever" (at last glance the link to that article was retweeted 1,077 times).  The authors seem completely unaware of the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime that looked at data up through 2005 -- six years longer than they claim.  Of course, my research also started with 1977, not 1981 as they did.  Of course, I have also used county and city level data and have many more observations than they have.  My research has run regressions with up to 96 times more observations that the 1,000 that they point to in this paper.  While I account for hundreds of factors, these guys account for almost none (6 in their final reported model (23 unreported in bivariate estimates -- meaning just running one of these variables at a time in explaining firearm murder rates).   It would be nice if Mr. Zack Beauchamp was notified that these authors are apparently unaware of any of my research since "1988" [sic] (they couldn't even get the year right for my first edition of MGLC).

4) No explanation is offered for why they leave Washington, DC out of their regressions.  I can offer one: it weakens their results.

5) Only a very small percentage of the prison population are there for murder.  Possibly a percent or two in any given year.  Do changes in the share of the prison population for larceny or burglary really help explain a lot of the variation in murder rates?  A more direct measure would be the arrest rate for murder and/or the number of people in prison for murder and/or the death penalty execution rate.

6) "To develop a final, more parsimonious model, we first entered all variables found to be significant in bivariate analyses (we used a Wald test at a significance level of .10) into 1 model. We then deleted variables found not to be significant in the presence of the other variables, assessing the significance of each variable with a Wald test at a significance level of .05."  -- The problem here is that the resulting statistical significance levels don't mean what these authors seem to think that that do.  The levels of significance for a regression assume a random draw.  If you 23 specifications and then pick the variables that are significant, the variables that you are picking were picked in a biased manner.

7) Six variables is what they finally include in their "Final Model."  Leaving out variables that affect the murder rate will cause the other variables to act as a proxy for these left out variables.  This gets back to my point (1).

8) Even if all these issues were dealt with, they have completely ignored the issue of causation.  Is it increased crime that results in more guns or the reverse?



Unions to meet with Obama today to push for changes in Obamacare

The big question is whether Obama will use taxpayer funds to bailout the unions.  From Fox News:

President Obama plans to meet face-to-face with labor leaders Friday to try and quell their opposition to Obamacare, as Republicans warn that the administration might offer a sweetheart deal to give their workers extra health care subsidies.
But while labor leaders hear out the White House, state-level union bosses are on their way back from the national conference of the AFL-CIO, and they've got a message for state lawmakers and Congress:
"We want changes to Obamacare."
At this week's national conference of the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for dozens of labor unions, union leaders approved a resolution formally calling for changes to the Affordable Care Act. The AFL-CIO said it's concerned about the affordability and accessibility of health insurance under Obamacare, and also worries that workers' hours may be cut back as an unintended consequence of the law.
In short, the AFL-CIO shares many of the same concerns opponents of the health care law have been raising for a long time.
But the AFL-CIO . . . was among the biggest advocates for the ACA when it passed Congress in March 2010. . . .



What those who put out salary data for college graduates don't tell you

Are the higher salaries for people from the Naval and Military Academies due to the quality of the schools or the quality of the students?  For example, might it be that the students who go to those schools are driven to work harder or is it because they are smarter?  Indeed, that point applies to salaries for all these top schools.  Often it is only those students who are driven who can make it into these top schools, but that extra drive might help them earn more anyway.  Unfortunately, the type of numbers shown below don't deal with those issues.  From the Wall Street Journal:
Top Schools, Median Starting Salary 
1. U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis ($77,100) 
2. U.S. Military Academy at West Point ($74,000) 
3. Harvey Mudd College ($73,300) 
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($68,600) 
5. California Institute of Technology ($68,400) 
6. Colorado School of Mines ($66,700) 
7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology ($65,100) 
8. Stevens Institute of Technology ($64,900) * 
8. U.S. Air Force Academy ($64,900) * 
10. Thomas Jefferson University ($64,400) 
Top Schools, Median Mid-Career Salary 
1. Harvey Mudd College($143,000) 
2. U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis ($131,000) 
3. California Institute of Technology ($124,000) ** 
3. Stevens Institute of Technology ($124,000) ** 
5. Babson College ($123,000) 
6. Princeton University ($121,000) 
7. U.S. Military Academy at West Point (120,000) 
8. Brown University ($119,000) + 
8. Harvard University ($119,000) + 
8. Stanford University ($119,000) +


Jay Leno on Syria and the REAL reason the unemployment rate has fallen

Leno's discussion about the reason for the drop in the unemployment rate is right on.

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Corruption: Hillary Clinton's 2008 got secret $608,000 donation from man connected with another corruption case

Thompson is deeply involved in the same type of scandal in DC in which he funneled under the table large amounts of money to Vincent Gray's DC Mayor campaign.  From the Washington Post:
Thompson allegedly paid Troy White, a New York marketing executive, more than $608,000 to hire “street teams” to distribute posters, stickers and yard signs beginning in February 2008 to help raise Clinton’s profile during her primary battle with then-Sen. Barack Obama, according to the documents and interviews with several people familiar with the investigation. 
A search of federal campaign records found no evidence that Thompson or White disclosed the alleged expenditures or activities to the Federal Election Commission, as required by campaign finance laws. 
The new accusations came to light when White pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor tax charge, becoming the latest Thompson associate implicated in a far-reaching investigation that has explored the businessman’s alleged secret role in funding political campaigns. . . .

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So much for Arctic being ice-free in summer by 2013

From the UK Daily Mail:

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent. 
The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013. 
Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores. . . .


"Chicago bans [permitted concealed handguns] guns in restaurants that sell liquor," why their concerns are misplaced

Chicago wants to make it very difficult for people to use guns defensively.  By limiting where people are able to carry their guns, they hope to prevent people from being able to carry generally.

Below is a map that will soon be out dated.  Illinois and North Carolina will soon allow concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.  But with all these states that allow concealed carry in restaurants, can anyone point to real problems any place?  No.

From Fox News:

Forced to weaken one of the nation's toughest gun-control laws, the Chicago City Council clearly signaled it wasn't backing down on Wednesday by banning concealed weapons in all bars and restaurants that sell liquor -- and noting that attorneys were ready to fight the anticipated legal challenges. 
State legislators were forced by a federal appeals court in July to adopt a law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons in Illinois, the only state that still banned the practice. The resulting state law largely stripped city and county officials of their authority to regulate guns, which especially irked officials in Chicago, where residents had to apply for concealed-carry permits through the police chief. 
Aldermen reluctantly watered down that ordinance on Wednesday, but then approved the gun ban for bars and restaurants. They took turns defending the new ban and issued a lightly veiled challenge to gun-rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association. 
"Bullets and booze don't mix," said Alderman Edward Burke, one of the sponsors of the ordinance. "For those of you who might be worried about the expense of defending this when the NRA sues, as they've threatened to do, (a Chicago law firm) has agreed to represent the city to defend this matter on a pro bono basis." . . .

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Obama's CEA hides impact of the Affordable Care Act on part-time workers by looking at wrong time period

Betsey Stevenson, who is with the Obama's Council of Economic Advisors and also Justin Wolfers' wife, has this claim:
New data out today in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Employment Report show that of the increase in employment since the Affordable Care Act became law, more than 9 out of 10 positions have been full-time. . . .
So how is this consistent with my previous post that "96 percent of net jobs added this year have been part-time jobs"?  There is a simple explanation.  They are looking at the change in jobs since March 2010.  My discussion was clearly only about the changes that have occurred this year.  To me it doesn't make much sense to look at the change over the entire period because many of the regulations didn't start for years.  For example, what if that the change was due to the employer mandate?  But that regulation was not supposed to go into effect until the end of this year.  Given that firms apparently preferred full-time workers for these jobs, there is no reason to expect them changing the jobs from full-time to part-time so far in advance.  Obama's economists don't really explain why they expect noticeable changes to occur 3.75 years before the employer mandate.

Just to remind people of the pattern in full-time and part-time jobs this year.

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Newest piece from National Review Online: "Democrats knew what they wanted in Colorado, but they overreached"

From the beginning of my piece:
Two weeks ago, the Washington Post declared the recall elections of two powerful state senators in Colorado a national “referendum on guns.” Indeed, the defeat of state-senate president John Morse and fellow state senator Angela Giron will cause some Democrats to rethink their push on gun control. 
But of course, many Democrats have reacted by shrugging off the results. Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has dismissed the losses as the result of “voter suppression, pure and simple” (orchestrated by the National Rifle Association and the Koch brothers, of course). Mark Glaze, executive director of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, predicted that the victory by gun owners would be short-lived at best and that gun-control legislators would take comfort in knowing that his group “will have their back.” 
In reality, it is hard not to appreciate what was accomplished. The difficulties facing the recall were overwhelming: . . .
UPDATE: Even the some people who support gun ownership at the Daily Kos have a useful discussion of some of the false claims about the recall election.

UPDATE: Here is Angela Giron's continued attempt to claim that she lost because of voter suppression (available here)

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New piece at the Daily Caller: "No, Obama’s judicial nominees don’t have unusually long confirmation times"

My piece starts this way:

Sparks will likely fly today during Robert Wilkins confirmation hearing to the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, or as President Obama calls it, “the second highest court in the country.“ Adding fuel to the fire, when Wilkins was nominated in June President Obama claimed that Republicans were “cynically” engaging in “unprecedented“ obstruction of judicial nominations. Further, Democrats keep threatening to change Senate rules, doing away with the filibuster for judicial nominations, if they don’t get their way. 
Obama is hardly the first president to complain that his nominees are discriminated against. During the Clinton administration, Attorney General Janet Reno accused the Republican-controlled Senate of an “unprecedented slowdown” in confirming new federal judges. During George W. Bush’s first term in office, Republicans, such as Senator Orrin Hatch, complained of “inexcusable” delays. . . .

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France: Trying to figure out a way of exempting soccer clubs from having to pay the 75% income tax for their best players

The UK telegraph has the back-and-forth on how to get around the tax for the soccer teams available here.  The funny thing is that everyone in France understands how the high tax will drive out the best soccer players, but they seem unwilling to accept that it will drive away the best businessmen.  

Pierre Moscovici spoke after warnings from the head of France'sprofessional football league, Frédéric Thiriez that the "crazy tax" would see France "lose its best players" and cost first division teams 182 million euros (£154 million).
"We are looking at different views on this issue, but it's true that we have football clubs which are in a fragile financial state," he said.
The 75 per cent tax – a key electoral promise of President François Hollande – has already sent several Gallic public figures, including star actor Gérard Depardieu, running for fiscal cover. . . .


Liberal Democrats Amazed by the contradictions in Obama's Foreign Policy

My favorite contradiction was that we should not be the world's policeman, but that we have to do something and can't look away.  Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:
He promised that it would be “a limited strike” without troops on the ground or a long air campaign, yet he argued that it was the sort of blow that “no other nation can deliver.” He argued that “we should not be the world’s policeman” while also saying that because of our “belief in freedom and dignity for all people,” we cannot “look the other way.” He asserted that what Bashar al-Assad did is “a danger to our security” while also saying that “the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military.” . . .
John Harris at Politico:
This led to perhaps the most disingenuous line uttered by either Zig or Zag in the 16-minute speech, with the president claiming that he had asked Congress to postpone the vote that he earlier requested authorizing use of military force in Syria in order to let the latest diplomatic moves play out. But just a minute earlier he had asserted that a main reason diplomacy was gaining traction was because of the “credible threat of U.S. military action.” Presumably, any further diplomacy would be even more effective if Congress sent a message that it was giving Obama all options to act if the talks fail. The more plausible rationale for congressional delay is that the administration would lose the vote if it took place now. . . .


13 School Districts in Arkansas had been using to employ teachers, administrators and staff as armed security guards

The Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies will hopefully receive some feedback from the citizens of Arkansas regarding their meeting today (501-618-8600).  From Fox News:
A state board is to consider whether to permanently revoke licenses that some Arkansas school districts had been using to employ teachers, administrators and staff as armed security guards. 
The Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies on Wednesday is scheduled to review the licenses that had been issued to 13 school districts classifying them as private security firms.  
The panel in August had suspended the licenses after a legal opinion was issued by the state's attorney general that the schools could not use the licensing law to arm staff. . . .

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Concealed handgun permit holder stops two men with guns from carjacking his car

From KTRK in Houston, Texas:
A carjacking suspect was shot and killed in north Houston Tuesday night, and authorities say the alleged victim pulled the trigger. 
It happened around 9:30 PM at a McDonald's drive-thru off West Little York near Interstate 45 North. 
Police say two men got out of a green Honda and pulled a gun on a man in the parking lot. 
According to police, the man who was robbed was trying to rent a movie from the Red Box when he was approached by the suspects, who took his keys and phone. But the suspects apparently didn't realize the victim had a license to carry a gun. . . . 
As for the man who shot at the suspects, police right now are not planning on seeking charges against him. . . . 
Thanks to Jeff Yager for the link.

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Dem State Senator Angela Giron, one of the senators recalled last night, said if even one seat lost Bloomberg's group "might as well fold it up"

Presumably Giron was trying to goad Bloomberg to try to help her out more, but it wouldn't have been a credible threat if her statement didn't have some truth to it.  From the Business Insider:
On the right, gun-rights advocates delivered a brutal hit to Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Angela Giron, one of the state senators who was recalled, told the New Republic last month that if even one seat was lost, MAIG "might as well fold it up." If nothing else, the results will likely lead to major pause from state legislators looking to tackle gun-control issues, especially in purple states. . . .
The New Republic piece doesn't have that excuse, except for maybe the motivation of scaring Democrats into donating money.  But here is their title for their piece: "This Local Election Could Determine the Future of Gun Control Why Michael Bloomberg has gone all-in on a Colorado race."


This Miss America Contestant is an expert marksman, an avid hunter since she was 10

Smart and very hot looking.  A discussion of Miss Kansas from People magazine:
She's also an expert M16 marksman, a bow hunter, a skydiver, a boxer and a mechanic. She finally had to stop motorcycle racing after breaking all the fingers in her right hand – a potential stumbling block, she decided, to reaching her goal of becoming an Army dentist. She can skin a deer, she has a great squirrel stew recipe (it features sauerkraut) and, one day, she hopes to hunt bear with her bow and arrow. . . . 
she's now a senior at Kansas State University with a double major in Chinese and chemistry. She loves the outdoors and has been an avid hunter since she was 10. . . .


Professor supports registration even though there is no evidence that it meets cost-benefit test

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

a professor at Stanford Law School who has studied the effects of gun control on crime, said such a law, if passed, would have little immediate impact on crime. 
"I still like the idea of the knowledge you could get from the registry," Donohue said. "But whether it is a cost-effective, immediate crime solver, I am still a little dubious." 
Most gangs and criminals, Donohue said, "are either sending someone to Nevada to pick (guns) up, or they're meeting up with someone who went there for them." . . .
One problem with the end of his answer is that even when guns are banned in an entire country gangs are getting a hold of them.



Remember newspaper headlines such as this in the Washington Post: "Colorado recall becoming referendum on guns"

Angela Giron's race was supposed to be the toughest, but here 12 percentage point loss would have to be considered a landslide.  Morse has already conceded his defeat.  Giron will soon.  See my earlier post on massive campaign spending by gun control advocates available here.

Both Morse and Giron were powerful Democrats in the state.  Morse was the state Senate President.  Giron was Chair of State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee and Vice-Chair of the very important Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy Committee.  She also served on the Water Resources Review Committee.

As of 12:37 AM EDT, the results were:

From the Denver Post:

But it wasn't just the NRA that warned Democrats about messing with gun rights.Sen. Lois Tochtrop, an Adams County Democrat and longtime Second Amendment activist, opposed five of the seven guns bills initially introduced in the session, including a lightning-rod proposal by Morse.
That proposal would have assigned liability for assault-style weapon damages to manufacturers and sellers, but Morse killed it at the 11th-hour because he didn't have the votes to pass it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.
"I feel like all these gun bills have done — to quote the last words in the movie 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' — is to awaken a sleeping giant," Tochtrop said during the debate.
Awaken they did. . . .
See also this:
Because the turnout in Morse's election in 2010 was so low — a race where he probably would have lost had there not been a Libertarian candidate — no one was surprised when that recall effort succeeded.
It was a different story in Pueblo [
Giron's district], a heavily Democratic district, where three plumbers armed with laptops linked to a state database not only collected enough valid signatures but had a low number thrown out. . . . 
Just to see how hard it was to get these recalls made, consider: to get the recall 25 percent of all the votes cast in the previous election.

7,178 signatures were required on the petitions to recall Morse, that is compared to the 17,845 who voted in this recall (40%).  11,285 valid signatures were required against Giron, compared to 34,556 who voted in the recall (32%).

In addition to this high threshold, they were outspent massively by Bloomberg. 
They were outspent by the groups backed by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg by 10 or 20 times. . . .
Some interesting facts about Recall elections.
Recalls against legislative leaders, such as Morse, tend to be particularly tough to win.  Here are some very interesting facts about recall elections from Joshua Spivak at The Recall Elections Blog.  Prior to Morse, there have only been four recall elections against legislative leaders in the US, and the legislative leader was retained in three of those four races.  In Colorado recall elections for other offices, officials have survived at better than 50 percent rate.  These recalls represent only the 37th and 38th recall votes of state legislators in US history, with the success rate prior to these two votes being exactly 50 percent.

How heavily Democratic were these districts?
To get an idea of how heavily Democratic these two districts are, one only needs to turn to the Daily Kos:
Giron's Senate District 3: 56% Democrat - 39% Republican, 44% Hispanic, rated as "Safe Democratic"
Morse's Senate District 11: 50% Democrat - 42% Republican, As the Daily Kos describes the district: "The Democratic stronghold in El Paso County, this district takes in almost every Democratic precinct there is.  The Commission's local Republican member Bob Loevy agreed that Dems deserve one seat, and this is it!
From Colorado Peak Politics:
Giron’s recall was spearheaded by a plumber from Pueblo named Victor Head. His group Pueblo Freedom and Rights and their 100% volunteer effort succeeded in gathering enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot, with a signature validity rate of 94%.
By comparison, the professional effort to get the billion dollar tax hike on November’s ballot cost over $750,000 and had a 54% validity rateVictor’s group had virtually no money — even going so far as to spray paint their own yard signs to save money. They were outspent by the groups backed by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg by 10 or 20 times.
But, in the end, Bloomberg’s billions weren’t any match for Victor Head’s voters. . . .
These two races are huge losses for Democrats. According to an analysis by the liberal Mother Jones, Obama won Morse’s district by 21% in 2012. He won Giron’s by 19%. That’s a victory for conservatives deep in Democratic territory.
That should shock the political world. . . .
At least in Giron's district, there was a strong Democratic turnout.
In El Paso County, Democrats have gained some ground. Last week, Republicans accounted for 41 percent of votes cast, but the GOP vote now is at 38 percent, according to figures released about 6:30 p.m. Still, Republicans have the lead. 
In Giron's district in Pueblo County, where Democrats comprise 47 percent of all registered voters and Republicans just 23 percent, Democrats have the vote lead, but there's a catch. Pueblo is a blue-collar, blue-dog Democratic town and 20 percent of the voters who signed petitions to recall the senator were Democrats. 
Democrats reported that between the two Senate districts, they had about 350 volunteers working in shifts and expected to knock on more than 23,000 doors before the polls close at 7 p.m. . . .
Shortly before 6:30 p.m., the El Paso County clerk reported that a total of 17,272 voters had marked ballots since early voting began.  The latest El Paso figures show vote total by party affiliation as: Republicans, 6,647; Democrats, 5,784; and unaffiliated, 4,580. . . . 
The party breakdown in Senate District 3 is as follows: Democrats, 14,633; Republicans, 10,329; and unaffiliated, 6,867. . . . 
From  Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics:

part of what occurred was that GOP turnout was unusually strong for an off-year special election. The “recall Morse” line received 9,000 votes, while the “recall Giron” effort drew 19,000 votes. (Mitt Romney received 26,000 votes in Giron’s district, and 19,000 in Morse’s.) In Giron’s district in particular, this was a surprisingly high turnout for an off-year special election.
For that matter, Morse’s GOP opponent received 13,500 votes in 2010, while Giron’s GOP opponent won 20,000 votes in that year. In other words, despite the intervening redistricting cycle, which helped Democrats somewhat, GOP turnout in this special election equaled midterm turnout in Giron’s district, and came close in Morse’s. . . .

His conclusion is interesting:

I do think that there’s one area where these recalls really are important. After the failure of the Senate gun-control bill, it was fashionable to argue, a la the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky: “You cannot oppose the will of 90 percent of the public and expect no consequences.” 
It appears that you can. For one thing, that 90 percent number represents something of a best case result drawn from a best-case question wording; actual public support for, say, universal background checks is somewhat lower (though clearly still a majority). Perhaps, as I explained in April, the energy is all on the side of the voters who oppose gun control. For example, while Americans might support universal background checks in the abstract, in practice they just don’t care that much about it. Those who oppose them, however, care a lot. . . .

Democrats aren't taking these defeats well.  Morse attacked the Pueblo recall organizer as an "unemployed plumber." In response, Victor Head, the plumber in question, noted: 

Other information
Reminder: Giron and some of her supporters framed this recall as being racist.
“I know it’s partially about me being a Latina and being in this position of authority,” said Giron. . . .
Some called Giron on this claim, such as Colorado Peak Politics:
Carefully ignored is the fact that three other Hispanics, both Republican and Democrat, male and female, opposed a number of gun bills this session.
Republican Latina Clarice Navarro opposed all the gun bills.
Democrat Latinos Ed Vigil and Leroy Garcia opposed the Mag Ban, and Vigil also opposed the background check bill.
No recall campaigns have been initiated against any of those Hispanic politicians. Not that such inconvenient facts got in the way of Giron shamelessly playing the race card. . . .
Now look at the picture of the next state Senator from Pueblo, George Rivera.


With 62% of vote counted, Colorado state Sen Angela Giron down 60 to 40%, 12:10 AM EDT

Despite massive donations by billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Billionaire Philanthropist Eli Broad, both state Senators John Morse and Angela Giron look likely to be defeated.  The NRA donated $361,700 to the campaigns, but Bloomberg and Broad alone donated a total of $600,000.  As of 12:10 AM EDT, the results were:

More information on campaign spending as of August 29th filings is available here:
According to the latest filings, Pueblo United for Angela has raised $825,400. That's an increase of $239,400 from the reports released last week. A Whole Lot of People for John Morse has raised $658,230, up about $52,000 from last week's report. . . .



Even Democrats think that the US is less respected around the world today than it was a year ago

It isn't very surprising that by wide margins Republicans and Independents think that the US is less respected than it was a year ago, but by a very slim 27 to 25 percent margin even Democrats think that we are less respected.  From Fox News:
. . . Among Democrats, 25 percent say the U.S. is more respected around the world today. That’s a 27 percentage-point drop from 52 percent last year.  Twenty-seven percent of Democrats say the U.S. is less respected, up from 11 percent. 
A slim 51-percent majority of Independents thinks the U.S. is less respected, up from 38 percent last year.  At the same time, the number of independents who think the country is more respected fell to just 9 percent, down from 27 percent.  
Among Republicans, 72 percent think the country is less respected around the world today than it was five years ago, 6 percent say more respected and 22 percent say it’s unchanged. The views are generally unchanged from last year.  
The Fox News poll is based on land-line and cell phone interviews with 900 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from Sept. 6 to 8. . . .

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After Australia, Norway also turns to the right, "right wing" parties win 96 of 169 seats

It isn't clear whether the conservative parties will all be able to work together.  Also what is classified by the media as "right wing" in Norway is based, not on their economic views, but on issues such as immigration.  For example, the Progress Party wants even more spending than the socialists, but they support trying to make immigration more difficult.



Some unusual political parties that hold the balance of in the Australian Senate

Some of these parties won seats with as little as 0.2 percent of the vote because of the strange way that parties can swap unused votes.  From UK Telegraph:
Ricky Muir, Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party 
Muir, 32, supports four-wheel "bush bashing" – or driving off-road in the outback. He posted an online video, which he has now removed, of himself throwing "kangaroo poo" in a garden. "What's the big deal?" said his spokesman. He also suggested on twitter that George W Bush was responsible for the September 11 attacks. 
David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrats 
A pro-gun libertarian, Leyonhjelm appears to have won in part because his party appeared first on the lengthy 3.3-foot Senate ticket and because some voters may have thought he represented Tony Abbott's Liberal party. "Looks like I'm going to be the senator for the donkeys," he said, referring to the throwaway votes – or donkey votes – which are likely to get him elected. 
Jacqui Lambie, Palmer United PartyA former soldier who opposes same sex marriage, she said she joined mining tycoon Clive Palmer's party because "I just didn't have the money like the big players did for advertising". 
Wayne Dropulich, Australian Sports Party 
A former member of Australia's gridiron – or American football – team, Dropulich, a civil engineer, said he and some friends came up with the idea for the party several months ago. His party's slogan was: "Are you more interested in sports than politics?" 
Glenn Lazarus, Palmer United Party 
A former Australian rugby league forward, he is known throughout the nation as "the brick with eyes". He once posed naked with a brick to promote a brick company. 
Bob Day, Family First 
Day's Bible-based party supports family values and housing affordability.The party had a previous Senator, Steve Fielding, who was famous for his outlandish stunts, including turning up to Parliament dressed as a beer bottle to promote recycling.



Latest numbers on how Congress will vote on Syria

This survey is current as of today (Sunday, September 8th) and it is from USA Today (available here).  It will be updated regularly. It looks as if the vote will be close in the Senate if there is a filibuster.  Yet, in the House the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans will be voting against going to war.

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Obama administration secretly eliminated Bush limits on NSA's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails

Several key points here.  1) The Obama administration greatly expanded the intrusiveness of these searches from what the Bush administration was willing to allow.  2) The Obama administration is searching through (in other words reading and listening to) the "vast majority" of the emails and telephone records of Americans.  3) That the Obama administration can do this without warrants.  Where does this leave Obama's claim that he is not doing any spying on Americans?  From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material. . . . 
What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used. 
Together the permission to search and to keep data longer expanded the NSA’s authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The administration’s assurances rely on legalistic definitions of the term “target” that can be at odds with ordinary English usage. The enlarged authority is part of a fundamental shift in the government’s approach to surveillance: collecting first, and protecting Americans’ privacy later. 
“The government says, ‘We’re not targeting U.S. persons,’ ” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But then they never say, ‘We turn around and deliberately search for Americans’ records in what we took from the wire.’ That, to me, is not so different from targeting Americans at the outset.” 
The court decision allowed the NSA “to query the vast majority” of its e-mail and phone call databases using the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of Americans and legal residents without a warrant . . . .


Something amusing


"Indianapolis mom's quick thinking fends off carjackers"

13 WTHR Indianapolis

From Indianapolis's Channel 13 TV News:
The woman's quick thinking turned the tables on carjackers who demanded the keys to her car on the northwest side."It went so fast that I could not even believe it was happening," the woman, Kari, said.
. . . The mother of three, a law school student, showed Eyewitness News what happened outside her SUV that forced her to pull out her own gun.
"I do have a gun carry permit and I do carry a gun. I yanked over my passenger door and pulled it out and at that point, they scattered," Kari said.
The attack happened at 11 p.m. Wednesday in her driveway as she returned home from law school, another reason she carries a weapon.
"It is personal protection, but I have never had to use it, ever," she said. . . .

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The iPhone 5S could have some really big "features that no saw coming!"

People have heard that the fingerprint censor will be built in the home button.  But did you know:
Apple's iPhone Fingerprint Sensor will use NFC . . .  The control circuitry in the electronic device may use the optical structures of the fingerprint sensor when communicating with external equipment. . . . Apple further clarifies that the external equipment mating with an iPhone Home button may be a peer device such as a point of sale terminal, a computer, part of an embedded system in an automobile, part of an audio or video equipment, or any other suitable external device.  Technically, it would appear that Eddy Cue may be thinking of integrating this NFC docking system into their future "iOS for the Car" project; a project that has been seen by many as a real threat to those in the in-vehicle infotainment sector. In fact it's quite an ambitious Apple project that could extend into home environment controls.
See the entire discussion and much more at Patently Apple.  As you read this discuss it all seems obvious, but you wonder why no one has produced this before.


Pew Poll on support for Gun Control

The Pew Poll is available here.

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"NRA backs ACLU spying lawsuit over gun registry fears"

Remember when a bipartisan group of 26 senators worried that the NSA was collecting data on American gun ownership?  The main problem with letting the government collect massive information is that a large percentage of the population doesn't trust it.  From Fox News:
The National Rifle Association on Wednesday filed an amicus brief in federal court supporting an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging a government phone-tracking program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.
The brief argues that the National Security Agency's phone records collection program could "allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with the NRA."
The ACLU's lawsuit — which names as defendants the heads of national intelligence as well as the agencies they lead, including the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice — argues the phone record collection program disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is unconstitutional.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York in June, asks the court to halt the datamining effort and purge phone records collected under the program, claiming the government action violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution.
The NRA argues in the brief that it would be "absurd" to think that Congress would take steps to prevent the creation of a national gun registry while simultaneously allowing the NSA to gather records that "could effectively create just such a registry." . . .
PEW has a series of different polls on trust in government, but unfortunately it ends in January of this year before all the White House scandals have come out.  After the 2012 election government had apparently enjoyed something of a boom in trust, though it was still historically low.  I can only presume that the many scandals have caused trust in government to plummet.

Here is an April poll from the AP, but it doesn't seem directly comparable.
Just 7 percent of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right "just about always," the AP-GfK poll found. Fourteen percent say they trust it "most" of the time. Two-thirds trust the federal government only some of the time; 11 percent say they never do. . . . .